A new series of MiniClick talks have started at Add the Colour in Brighton. Last week it was Erika Szostak who gave a talk. Instead of just talking about her work she spoke about the relationship between the photographic image and accompanying text. It’s quite often that you see an image and it might not mean much until you know about it’s context. It’s quite common to see great images posted on flickr and tumbler with no explanation of what they are about and I find it really frustrating. When ever I upload images I always give the images titles, tags and most of the time I will add a description if its needed.
Earlier this week I re-blogged a photo (above) from Photojojo’s tumblr, in their original post there was not much of an explanation of what the image was about. I was a bit taken aback because my immediate thought is that the subway carriages were being dumped in the sea as a way of disposing of them rather than recycling them. But after visiting the author of the photograph’s website I discovered that they were being dumped in the sea to create an artificial reef. Once you know this the photo has new meaning – its gone from being an image about wastefulness to one about environmentalism. The photos where shot buy Stephen Mallon you can check out the set of subway cars being dumped in the sea here.
Erika’s talk got interactive, everyone was asked to bring a photograph and pen and paper. We were asked to write about every aspect of the situation behind the image and environment surrounding the image from the sounds to the smells, the time of the day and more. I chose an image that I shot in Berlin in 2007 Below is my photo and what I wrote about it in the 15 minutes we had to complete the exercise:
“The best nights are always the unplanned ones. This shot was taken after a first light walk to a bagel shop, that was after being at a 60’s club night that I didn’t even intend to go to, that was after a session in a bar that was after an amazing home cooked meal. After only intending on going for a meal here I am at 6am outside a bagel shop. My ears are deafened after being blasted by 60’s pop. The hum in my ears is punctuated by the sound of laughter and the odd car driving past as I wait for my bagel. In the Berlin summer at 6am you can still be perfectly comfortable just wearing your jeans and T-shirt or just a skimpy dress.”
I was really pleased with what I wrote and wish I had the time to write a short narrative story with every image I upload to Flickr but I barely get enough time to add all tags, descriptions and titles to the images I upload at the moment. It helped me re-enforce my belief that the meta-data that you add to an image is almost as import as the image itself. It does annoy me when I see Flickr streams full of images and they’re all untitled with no tags. What’s the point? The owner of the image won’t be able to find them and neither will anyone else for that matter, rending uploading them in the first place completely pointless! This post has turned into a bit of a rant now but its a good thing as I can now state that at some point I am going to run a little free talk/workshop on Flickr best practices. After all, I have been a member of the Flickr community for 6 years and raked up quite a few page views in that time so I think I can speak with some authority. Trying to sort out a venue and time for this but if you wanna be the 1st to when its gonna happen sign up to my mailing list (in the right hand column) and / or follow me on twitter.
The next MiniClick talks will be by Matt Martin on the 1st March and then Adam Bronkhorst on the 5th April there is more info on these upcoming talks on Jims blog here. I have spoke to Jim Stephenson and he tells me there are more talks in the pipeline. In addition to the MiniClick talks there’s going be an event that can only be described as magic. Andy Wilson is going to shoot a roll of colour film and develop it in the sink at Add the Colour in front of a live audience! The support act for that evening will be Andrew White talking about how to find and buy old film cameras. The whole evening is geared towards demystifying film photography for digital photographers. That will take place on 17th of February, more details can be found on this Facebook event page.